Sunday, July 18, 2010

Grow your own Cilantro

Fresh cilantro is one of my favourite herbs and over the years I have learned a few tricks to help get a bumper crop.

In Canada the leaves are usually called cilantro and the seeds are called coriander.  Enjoy the frilly foliage and don't forget to eat the flowers too!  Use the flowers as a pretty garnish for salads or other creations.  You can also eat the root.  The leaves with the root make a nice pesto when blended with lime and pumpkin seeds.

Cilantro has a strong distinctive taste and is commonly used in Mexican, South American and Asian cooking.  Last week I used cilantro in a vinaigrette, to top a stir fry, in Thai fresh pea soup, over a salad and in fresh rice wraps.... the possibilities go on and on.

The picture shows the foliage with a jar of organic coriander seed.

Cilantro is an annual that can reach 18 inches (45 centimeters). I have found it goes to seed quickly in the summer heat so I now grow it on my back porch which has partial shade.  I also grow it in the house starting in February.  I seed it in containers so I can move them around.  I do find that the flavour of the herb that you grow yourself from seed is milder, sweeter and generally more pleasant.  During the summer months I start a new container every two or three weeks to give me a constant supply which I can harvest until early November.

Last fall I bought organic cilantro seeds for cooking.  I grind them for flavouring in various recipes but then I  realized they could most likely be grown.  Little packages of cilantro seeds are at least $1.49 where I live and organic ones cost even more.  I bought the whole jar of coriander seed for a little over $3.

Below is a photo of cilantro seedlings from these seeds sprouting in my house early February.  This basket eventually got moved outdoors and I got an ample supply well into May.  Now, I have two long containers in use and another one in the garden I seeded a few weeks ago.

Grow your own cilantro from organic seed. I find it is not worth buying the store-bought plants as they don’t last long.

Tastefully yours,
Nancy Guppy, RD, MHSc.
Chapman's Landing Cooking Studio

1 comment:

sanjay said...

nice blog
great information.
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